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Sex offender acquitted of raping teenage girls

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DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — A jury acquitted a convicted sex offender Monday of raping two teenage girls who police say escaped after they were left to die in an underground bunker he had built.

Kenneth Glenn Hinson, 48, appeared to cry after the jury read its verdict, which followed about four hours of deliberations over two days.

"I think the verdict says it all," he said as he was escorted from the courtroom.

Authorities accused Hinson of snatching the 17-year-old girls from their bedroom last year and dragging them one at a time to the underground room, raping them and binding them with duct tape. Prosecutors said Hinson expected the girls to die because the room, under a tool shed, had no air supply.

He was charged with kidnapping, sex crimes and assault with intent to kill.

Hinson testified that the girls had consensual sex with him. He said they made up the story so they would be able to take drugs from the bunker, which he used to store marijuana.